Is thr a gnr8shn gap bt rents n teens?

If you can read the above title, then most likely, you speak teen. Today’s teens are some of the most technologically savvy teens ever. Most teens engage in texting, IMing, chatting, or some other form of electronic communication. That’s in addition to actually talking on the phone, emailing, and facebooking. They are in constant contact with one another and often become distressed when they don’t have access to friends. So if you are a parent of a teen, when is the last time you checked your teen’s MySpace or Facebook (or Twitter or Tumblr, take your pick), email, texts, or top 25 songs on their IPOD? Is this something you should do periodically? Absolutely! If you really want to know your teen then you need to know what’s going on in their world.
Take some time to let your teen “school” you on text messaging, IMing, or Facebook. Ask them who Deathcab for Cutie is or what “emo” means. What is their favorite YouTube video? They have a wealth of information that is important for you to know and that they most likely would be glad to teach you. This doesn’t mean transforming yourself into a teen however – just being able to speak their language and communicate an interest in their world. If the lines of communication are open, then your teen is more likely to come to you when she has a serious problem she’s facing.
Seeking to understand your teen’s world is essential in maintaining a strong relationship with your teen. Although you may not actually understand some of the things your teen and his friends do or like, the important thing is to be in the know while also providing some boundaries for your teen. Your role of course is always the parent, not friend. Being the “cool parent” is not nearly as important as being the reliable, consistent, invested parent. So rather than allowing the generation gap to create a “wall of silence” between you and your teen, explore that gap and have your teen be your tour guide!

[Originally written May 2008]

Author's Bio: 

Lori Payne is a Licensed Professional Counselor & Supervisor who specializes in working with teens. She has worked in residential, outpatient, & school settings over the past 13+ years & currently has a private practice. Additional specialties include self-injury & substance abuse. Lori seeks to assist teens in finding their voice & identity while creating a healthy, vibrant path. She also enjoys working with adults & families dealing with various life issues. Lori's main purpose is to make a difference.